The next quarterback analyzed in this series of way too early scouting profiles is Ryan Finley, quarterback for North Carolina State Wolfpack. In a year with no clear-cut QB1, Finley could make an easy case by the end of the year. The senior quarterback is an underrated player who could go high in the 2019 NFL Draft IF he has a productive year. In this way too early scouting profile, we analyze the strengths, weaknesses and discuss what to expect from the under-the-radar quarterback Ryan Finley.
Way Too Early Scouting Profile: Ryan Finley Edition
Games watched: Florida State (2017), Clemson (2017), Boston College (2017), and Arizona State (2017).
Goes through progressions: One area in which Finley is ahead of most of the other quarterbacks in this class is his ability to read a defense and go through progressions. He is used to reading the whole field and not locking onto a certain receiver.
Footwork: Finley’s footwork is clean and smooth, which helps him set his feet quickly and get the ball out fast, which is a major part of his game. His good craftmanship also helps him be a precise thrower.
Poise: The senior quarterback shows a great deal of poise when under pressure, delivering the ball and taking the hit if necessary. He doesn’t seem to be flustered by an incoming blitz and he can remain accurate while getting hit or with pressure in his face. He is also calm in late game situations as we could see in the Clemson game. He almost pulls off a comeback but a late pass that would leave him with a 1st and goal with 20 seconds on the clock was brought back with a holding call, and the play prior (a beautiful throw) would have been a touchdown if the Clemson safety didn’t make an amazing play and broke the ball out of the receiver hands.
Quick release: He gets the ball out fast. It’s a combination of his throwing motion, his quick feet and his quick decision making that he takes a little bit over two seconds to get the ball out.
Accuracy: Finley is a fairly accurate quarterback. He puts the ball where it needs to go and he rarely misses by much (a reason for his low INT totals).
Anticipation: He hits comeback and out routes with good anticipation. Those are NFL throws that he would need to make on an every game basis in the pros.
Throw on the run: Playing outside structure doesn’t seem to be Finley’s strength. In fact, he looks very uncomfortable throwing on the run.
Throwing on a bootleg play: Whenever Finley runs a bootleg from a play-action play to his right, he gets his feet messed up and ends up throwing from his back foot, which makes him throw with less power and be less accurate.
Deep passes over the middle of the field: What’s weird with Ryan Finley is that his deep passing is better outside the marks rather than inside. In fact, his passes that go for 20+ yards inside the hash marks are an area in which he struggles. In those situations, he completed 6 out 22 for 222 yards, two TDs, and two INTs. His passer rating in those situations is 30 points lower than the NCAA average (95.4 to 61.6).
Touchdowns: Finley fits the game manager attitude that both his TD (17) and INT (6) totals are low. What worries me is that he doesn’t have many games in which he throws multiple TDs. In fact, there have been several games in which he hasn’t thrown any. In 13 games he only threw multiple touchdowns 4 times, and he went scoreless twice (against North Carolina he passed for zero TDs but he ran for two, I’m not counting those). This means he had 8 games in a 13 game schedule in which he scored one or fewer TDs. This is not ideal.
What to Expect This Year
Up until now, Ryan Finley has been a game manager for the Wolfpack. He hasn’t been relied upon to score or to make all the big plays. If he wants his name called early in the 2018 NFL Draft, he needs to take charge and be the engine of his team. No team will draft a quarterback who only managed games in the first round.
There are also some little things he needs to fix like his throws on the run, his throws on a play-action bootleg play (or rollout) or his deep passes over the middle. In a year with no pre-hyped quarterback, a strong senior season will make all the difference between being a late rounder or an early pick.
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